By FS on
• Oscar winners upon being presented with their award, must sign an agreement stating that if they wish to sell their statuettes they must first offer them to the Academy for $1. If they refuse, they cannot keep their trophy. The rule has been in effect since 1950, which means that older statues do sometimes appear on the open market. Interestingly, Steven Speielberg bought Bette Davis’ Oscar for $578,000 in 2001 and donated it back to the Academy and Michael Jackson paid over a million for David Selznick’s award in 1999. Steven Spielberg also bought Clark Gable’s 1934 Best Actor Oscar for It Happened One Night, for the bargain price of $550,000 in 1996.
If a film is to be considered for an Oscar nomination, it must meet several criterias. It must be 40 minutes long; on 35mm or 70mm film, or 24- or 48-frame progressive scan Digital Cinema format at a minimum resolution of 2048 by 1080 pixels and must be screened for paid admission in Los Angeles for at least seven days. This was the reason Charlie Chaplin’s Limelight, which was produced in 1952, won an Oscar in 1972, only after it played in Los Angeles.
• The only sequel to ever win a Best Picture Oscar was The Godfather II in 1974. Peter Jackson could be about to follow suit with his spectacular sequel to Lord Of The Rings, The Two Towers. Also, The only Academy Award winner who won but was never officially nominated was Hal Mohr for Best Cinematography for A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935). Mohr was the first and only person to win via a write-in vote.
• The Oscar statuette, which stands at 13 1/2 inches tall and weighs 8 1/2 pounds are gold-plated metal ones.The Oscar statue is one of the most recognized trophies in the world that has existed since 1929. Officially named the Academy Award of Merit, the statuette is better known by its nickname, Oscar. The statuette is made of tin, copper and antimony, with a thick covering of 24 carat gold. However, During World War II, Oscar winners were presented with statues made from plaster instead of gold, in public recognition of the war effort.
• The Dolby Theatre was formerly known as the Kodak Theatre and has temporarily been renamed the Hollywood and Highland Center Theatre. It has been the most recent home of the Oscars and seats 3,332 people. But the interesting fact is that many actors and people from Hollywood do not make it to the actual event. People are allegedly invited to fill the seats for which they are paid $125 to fill up the auditorium. The theater has hosted the Academy Awards ceremonies and is the first permanent home for these annual awards ceremonies.
By fenil_seta on
Marriage jokes can never go out of fashion. What’s more, one doesn’t need to tie the knot to enjoy the jokes and it raises laughs across people of all age groups. And sure enough, many films have been attempted as well that revolve around the nok-jhok associated with the members of this sacred institution. A film bearing the title Shaadi Ke Side Effects immediately arouses curiosity and when one learns that it stars Farhan Akhtar and Vidya Balan and directed by the same genius who made Pyaar Ke Side Effects, expectations are bound to be skyhigh. The theatrical trailer confirmed that the film is going to be a laugh-riot and most importantly, very relatable. And sure enough, the film has tons of laugh-out-loud moments that make for a great watch!
The story of the movie: Siddharth Roy aka Sid (Farhan Akhtar) and Trisha (Vidya Balan) are married to each other and try unconventional methods to maintain the zing in their lives. However, one day Trisha finds out that she’s pregnant and as a result, Siddharth’s life goes for a toss. After the baby, Mili, is born, Siddharth finds it difficult to fulfill his responsibilities as a doting father and husband and in the process, fights between the couple become common. With no hope in sight, Sid approaches his brother-in-law Ranvir (Ram Kapoor) who is considered as an ideal hubby-and-dad. He gives some debatable tips which Sid laps it up instantly. What happens thereafter forms the rest of the story.
Director Saket Chaudhary’s debut venture Pyaar Ke Side Effects was one-of-its-kind and boasted of several interesting and never-before-seen moments. For instance, I can still vividly recall the sequence where the characters of Rahul Bose and Mallika Sherawat are fighting with each other and a scoreboard pops up (Check out the scene here)! Something like this was novel then (and even today) and one does expect Saket to come up with something in the same league with Shaadi Ke Side Effects. Thankfully, the film does have such moments and that too from the very beginning. Moreover, many funny scenes that one must have repeatedly seen in the promos successfully raise laughs when seeing the film as well! Also, the first half never gets boring. One thing beautifully leads to another. The intermission point is crucial and very interesting.
By FS on
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& now Check out what Times of India has posted
Salman Khan takes a jibe at AR Rahman at Kapil Sibal’s album launch
The tension between the Salman Khan and AR Rahman was the talking point of an event. Once again, Salman has put his foot in his mouth. The launch of ‘Raunaq’, a musical collaboration between Rahman and Union Minister (Telecom & IT) Kapil Sibal, set the stage for a somewhat hostile interaction between the star and the Oscar-winning composer.
By I.One on
Ever since the first theatrical promo of ‘Shaadi Ke Side Effects‘ went on air four months back, there has been good curiosity to check out the film. First and foremost there is good recall value due to the franchise factor. Secondly, both Farhan Akhtar and Vidya Balan carry good reputation for their off as well as on screen persona. Thirdly, the film has a good light hearted feel to it which should keep the urban audience engaged. Fourthly, Pritam’s music has caught on well too. Fifth, Balaji has marketed and promoted the film quite well. Sixth, it is a solo release of the week and there is no competition from earlier weeks either.
All of this means that the stage is set for ‘Shaadi Ke Side Effects‘ to make merry, provided second time director Saket Chowdhary has made an entertaining film, just as was the case with his debut flick ‘Pyaar Ke Side Effects’. Of course the film has its target audience at multiplexes but that should be good enough for this Balaji-PNC flick to earn some good moolah as even at single screens it would have decent visibility.
The film should take an opening in the upwards of 50% and then show growth over the weekend on the basis of word of mouth. If the film is well made and in the process liked by the audience, ‘Shaadi Ke Side Effects‘ can expect a bountiful at the box office as it has a lot going in its favor. (more…)
By fenil_seta on
It has been a while since two hero films (in which both heroes are thick friends) have been churned out in Bollywood. The bond of friendship can be a strong factor in taking a film forward and hence, Gunday, a tale of two friends, is at an advantage. That it’s backed by a respected banner like Yash Raj Films and directed by Ali Abbas Zafar (who made the entertaining Mere Brother Ki Dulhan) was like an icing on the cake. But very shockingly, Gunday is a king-sized disappointment!
The story of the movie: Bikram (Ranveer Singh) and Bala (Arjun Kapoor) are refugees from Bangladesh who are compelled to come to Calcutta during the 1971 War. They fail to get the required help from the government and hence start doing odd jobs to earn a living. From being gun couriers, they turn into coal thieves and ultimately, the biggest gunday of Calcutta. By this time, they become the best of friends. They trust no one except themselves and work in complete harmony. They even fall for the same girl – cabaret dancer Nandita (Priyanka Chopra). On the other hand, the new ACP Satyajit Sarkar (Irrfan Khan) vows to bring Bikram and Bala to book. How he attempts to do so and how Bikram-Bala work out a solution when they both fall in love with the same girl forms the crux of Gunday!
Gunday has a terrific beginning actually. The entire sequence when Bikram and Bala as kids make ends meet makes for a great watch. Ranveer-Arjun’s entry is clapworthy and the action scene involving Bikram-Bala and Dibakar’s men is quite fun. Nandita’s entry is hilarious and after this point, the film begins to go on a downhill majorly because the goings-on just don’t seem convincing. There’s a major twist in the tale later on which is predictable. But more than that, it’s the unconvincing sequences that are a downer. The manner in which Bikram and Bala become sworn enemies of each other didn’t seem acceptable. Their fight scene in the second half is very boring. Even the fight in the climax, though shot well and put to good music (title song) seems extremely over-the-top and doesn’t work. On the positive side, few scenes make a huge impact (especially Nandita blasting Bala in the second half). Also, Tune Maari Entriyaan is too good with the choreography being quite impressive!
By fenil_seta on
It is no secret that a full-on masala entertainer replete with sharp dialogues, raw action, macho men, beautiful heroine and loads of drama can work wonders at the box office, if made well, boasts of saleable stars and marketed smartly. Hence, a lot of buzz surrounds Gunday, starring Ranveer Singh, Arjun Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra. It’s produced by Yash Raj Films and directed by Ali Abbas Zafar who earlier directed the comic caper Mere Brother Ki Dulhan. Gunday however is a complete departure from Zafar’s earlier work. Set in the 70s Calcutta, Gunday is a tale of 2 men, originally refugees from Bangladesh, who become very powerful and even get worshipped by the masses. The treatment is quite filmy and it is evident that several scenes in the film will intice loads of claps and whistles, especially in the single screens. Songs aren’t that great but Tune Maari Entriyaan has become quite popular.
A section of trade and experts are hoping that Gunday can cross 100 crore mark. After all, it has the complete masala entertainment element (described above). Moreover, Ranveer is riding high after the super-success of Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-leela, which also earned more than 100 crores. However, while the buzz for Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-leela was huge, the same can’t be said for Gunday (though Arjun-Ranveer’s antics have been loved a lot). Moreover, Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-leela’s songs were liked immensely and had become a rage. Gunday songs haven’t worked in a similar way. Also, Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-leela starred Deepika Padukone and her chemistry with Ranveer was eye-catching. Not to forget, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s setting was appealing and larger-than-life. And when it comes to Gunday, the chemistry between Priyanka-Ranveer or Priyanka-Arjun isn’t that hot. And although Gunday boasts of some superb action scenes (especially the ones shot atop the train and at the coal mine) but again, it hasn’t had a tremendous impact.
Hence, in my opinion, it won’t be an easy task for Gunday to cross the 100-crore-mark and even the opening won’t be similar as Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-leela (which had a rocking opening of 15 crore). However, word of mouth can be crucial if audience reaction is positive, Gunday can earn big time. Let’s hope for the best!
By fenil_seta on
Priya Gupta (BOMBAY TIMES; February 13, 2014)
Juhi Chawla, in real life, is quite like we know her on screen — simple, emotional, sensitive and spontaneous. As she says, “I think more from my heart. My brains don’t work as much.” After losing her mother to an accident, her father to illness and not still having come to terms with her brother Bobby Chawla’s coma, she has become more quiet and thinks a little more. Ahead of her upcoming release, Gulaab Gang, which makes her both excited and anxious, she talks to Bombay Times about the super bright and simple Shah Rukh Khan, her emotional anchor and husband Jai Mehta and her past vulnerability versus Madhuri Dixit. Excerpts:
Tell us about your journey into films?
As we are sitting here, in this very Sun-n-Sand Hotel, I am reminded of the pool scene we shot in Darr. The yellow chiffon sari I wore, Yash Chopraji and Shah Rukh and me. How time flies. I still remember how I was so excited to work with Yashji and be his heroine. It was beyond my dreams that I could have one day become a Yash Chopra heroine. I had never thought so big and wondered if I could have lived up to his expectations. I was born in Ambala, after which we briefly lived in Delhi where my mum worked in the housekeeping department of Oberois. My dad worked for the Income Tax department and they decided to move to Mumbai when I was four as my mum had got a job with the Taj. My dad too took a transfer. My mom worked so that she could add to the family income. We had a comfortable life thanks to both of them putting their efforts but there was nothing like excess. Then I went to school and college here and then coincidentally slipped into films. Youth really has its flight, takes chances, doesn’t think too much and that is the beauty of it. Now when I look back, my friends were taking part in the Femina Miss India contest. And there were these forms going around in HR college. So I too decided to fill up a form. I had always been a studious and conscientious daughter, who wanted good grades for my parents. I knew I was good, but also knew that there were prettier girls in my class and that always kept me grounded. I still remember my dad’s reaction when I told him that I wanted him to sign my form. I didn’t know what I was wearing, a friend of mine did my make-up and I went for an interview to the Femina office at the Times of India building and the next thing I knew was that I had been shortlisted for the finals at the Shanmukhananda Hall. There were prettier girls than me, but I know I nailed it because of one smartass answer I gave. I got lucky and that is where my journey began in films. Just soon after winning Miss India, my first film literally walked to me.
Your favourite directors?
Yash Chopra, for his dream-like films and the way he presented his heroines. Only he would take care of what they are wearing and how they are looking. He was very sweet and there was always khanna peena with him. He would never shout, but knew how to get his work done. Working with him was a big experience in my life. Azizji (Aziz Mirza) for his warmth that shows even in his films. He is very well read and jovial. Be it his lyrics, his music, his sense of poetry or sense of humour, his warmth shows. And Mahesh Bhatt. Maheshji was one director I would just laugh listening to. He would not only tell you what you are supposed to do, but would also tell you what should be going on in your mind while shooting. A director normally tells his main characters about what to do, but he was one director who for instance in a police chowki scene would also tell the hawaldar standing behind what he must imagine in his head while the scene is being shot. For example he would tell him ‘imagine that you have fought with your wife and come.’ In his films, everyone was alive.
Your favourite actors?
Each actor has been a character. But the two obvious ones are Shah Rukh and Aamir. Aamir was the one who taught me my dialogues and acting in my screentest for Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, post which I went to shoot South films. By the time I came back to shoot QSQT, I felt mujhko toh kaam aata hai. So he would fumble more than me in QSQT. But in reality we had both started together and there was no awe as we were both just as bad or good. He had assisted Nasir Hussain and knew the technical side. He would always think his scenes while I would be spontaneous. He was always intelligent and would get into details and would get into the length and breadth of every thing. We got on very well. Of course, he has become more serious now and is doing great work. He was not completely happy with all the films he was doing then. I, of course, was learning anything and everything from everyone and didn’t know he would become the phenomenon he is today or that Shah Rukh would have become what he is. Hum log ko toh koi credit hi nahi deta. They should be grateful to me as because of me they became huge stars Shah Rukh has always worked 20 hours a day. He told me once, ‘I have six tracks going on in my head and I can think clearly through each one of them.’ I was baffled then only as I felt yeh kaise ho sakta hai, mera toh ek bhi nahi chalta. He would help the director in writing and staging the scenes and would rehearse with you even 20 times. When he came to the set, I knew that the director would be at ease as he would make it all work. He would make us laugh and keep us entertained. That time, even though he was just three years into Bollywood, while a star’s water would usually be served in silver glasses, Shah Rukh in his initial years would have his tea from the same glass that the crew would have and have dal chawal with the unit. He was very simple. Now, things may have changed a little, but I think at heart he is still simple. He is very intelligent and he reads a lot. I wish though he could stop smoking and just care about his health and rest a little more.
Madhuri Dixit and you were always pitted against each other in your peak days. Did that bother you then?
Yes, at that time there was Madhuri and me, as we had come into the industry at the same time. Her Dil and my QSQT were released three months apart. There were comparisons. Now, I read in her interviews and realise that she was not even bothered and was actually just doing her own thing at that time. She was really mature. But I think I was not so wise so I would get affected as people would always keep telling me, ‘See what you are doing and see what Madhuri is doing.’ I was vulnerable. I had not come in knowing this is where I was going to go and was not sure of myself. I was living and learning and experiencing and getting scared of where I was myself. There were many times when I would feel, ‘Shit, what if I my next film bombed?’ I was insecure, inexperienced and young.
Who was your emotional anchor at that time?
My emotional anchor was my mom. But I lost her in a car accident a year after my marriage. A few years later, my dad became sick and I lost him too. My brother Bobby is eight years older than me. As kids, he and I would fight like cats and dogs. He would often push me and I would go flying and would hate him for it. He initially moved to Delhi to work, but then returned to Mumbai to build a career and we lost our mother. After losing her, my brother became my anchor and I thought he would be there with me through thick and thin, but he has been in coma for a few years now. My husband Jai is today my anchor in every way and I am most attached to my children, Jai and my in-laws. What Jai cannot solve for me, I leave it to time to sort itself. I was broken when I lost my mum and then again when my brother fell ill. I became spiritual. I questioned many things and am still questioning. Sometimes I feel scared that there is no one sitting up there. Of course, I also hold on more to my family and value them even more now.
How did you meet your husband?
We got married 15 years ago. I had known him vaguely when I was in college. Then I lost touch with him as I started working. Much later, I met him again in a restaurant when I had gone with my friends for dinner. We started keeping in touch. I was an actress by this time. He started wooing me for a year and then we got married.
What is he like?
He is very generous and for him friendships mean a lot. He is very large-hearted and he has a more forward looking vision than mine. At times I am not able to look at things and maybe, I am looking at the smaller picture, but he will help me stand above it and look beyond.
In Gulaab Gang, were you comfortable playing a villain given that you have always been loved for your innocent, sweet onscreen image?
First I was appalled and wondered why they wanted me to play a villain. But then I realised that I don’t have to become Prem Chopra or Gulshan Grover. I have to just be me with a little play with it and it will happen.
By fenil_seta on
Priya Gupta (BOMBAY TIMES; February 13, 2014)
Sanjay Gupta’s films are about gangsters, real life incidents and style. We have now learnt that Sanjay is ready to shoot his next film titled Mumbai Saga, which again is based on a real-life gangster of the 80s and the 90s, who changed the skyline of Mumbai. This gangster, being played by John Abraham, will be shown from the age of 22, where he was a vegetable vendor, to the age of 45, when he became a narco smuggler and the ganglord of Mumbai, who ruled the businesses of drugs, arms and real estate. He was responsible for breaking the strong nexus between the mills and the politicians at that time. He, in effect, became the broker for builders and was responsible for buildings being built in place of mills. But he did something so terrible that he had to get his face changed without which he would have been caught. He had turned gangster for the sake of his brother, who he wanted should become a chemical engineer from London. While his brother did become that, ironically, he finally became a gangster himself.
Great actors Anil Kapoor and Manoj Bajpayee return in this Sanjay Gupta film. Interestingly, Anil will be seen playing the leader of the ruling political party then, who was no less than the tiger of Mumbai’s jungle. It’s a no-brainer to guess who that could be. (more…)
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Ankur Pathak (MUMBAI MIRROR; February 12, 2014)
Alfonso Cuaron’s Sandra Bullock-George Clooney starrer space drama Gravity, which has recieved 10 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, was partly shot in 3D, but chunks of it was converted to the format from 2D by Prime Focus India.
To make the space spectacle look as astounding as it does, about 400 technicians from the Indian branch of Prime Focus, a company that specialises in rendering visual effects, animation and 3D-conversion, worked in tandem with teams from London and Los Angeles.
Before it came on board, Cuaron asked the team here to do test-runs, and impressed by the results, Prime Focus was aboard the space mission. It helped that the VFX firm enjoyed tremendous goodwill in LA circles, having worked on the visuals of Avatar and on the 3D conversion of Clash of the Titans in a record-time of eight weeks.
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Priya Gupta (BOMBAY TIMES; February 12, 2014)
Vir Das, 34, is pretty much to himself when he is not working. He likes being alone with his girlfriend Shivani Mathur and his bulldog, Doctor Watson. He is ambitious, hardworking, socially awkward and dons four hats, of being a standup comedian to an actor to producing events to now, becoming a musician. He is a restless person who, on any given day, wakes up with a lot of ideas and then needs to execute them in a manic fashion. He is a diehard romantic and extremely sensitive to the few people close to him in his life, but is emotionally detached from the larger world. Ahead of his ‘senseless appearance’ as he calls it in his upcoming film Shaadi Ke Side Effects, he talks to Bombay Times about his childhood in insecure Africa, the poised Aamir Khan and why The Newshour is his favourite show on television. Excerpts:
Let’s talk about your childhood?
Due to my surname being Das, people think I am from Kolkata. But while I may fill up a lot of theatres there, I am actually from UP. I was born in Dehradun and raised in Africa, where I moved with my parents when I was one year old. My dad worked as a manager for a poultry farm in UP from where he joined a big food processing company in Lagos, Nigeria. From the age of nine, I studied in a boarding school as the schools were not very good there. I first went to Sanawar boarding school, then Delhi Public School in Class XI then to Sri Venkateswara College for a year-and-a-half after which I went abroad to a school called Knox in Illinois to do Bachelors in Theatre. I would go back to Nigeria only during my holidays and my only memories are of eating good food and watching movies from the video library. There were many Indians there with a rich Indian cultural association. But the law and order was bad, so you had to stay indoors with a lot of armed guards at the gate and a lot of drivers. We lived in a compound of seven houses, which were very well-guarded. That meant that you couldn’t ride a bike outside, so it was a bit of a closed living. It meant that you don’t drive fancy cars or wear jewels in Africa as you could be robbed. When we first went there in 1981, a naira was a dollar-and-a-half, but by the time we left Nigeria, a dollar was probably equal to 120 nairas. That was the journey where it just got worse and worse. Years later, my parents finally moved back to Delhi when there was an emergency in Nigeria and president No. 5 got assassinated and everybody decided, okay it’s time to leave.
Were your parents comfortable with your stand-up sex comedy act?
Sometimes I get a nice email from my mother saying, ‘Don’t say penis on stage’. And that will always be point No. 3. First two points will be, ‘Son, you are working too hard. Son, eat well.’ I never make my parents sit on the front row as they get very shy. They will always be in row five or six and will always watch the audience, hoping as hell that they are not embarrassed. They will never look at me. My mom prefers watching my films versus stand-up comedy. In a film, it is dark and I am not on stage. They also complain that I work too hard and don’t sleep enough.
How did you become a stand-up comedian?
From the time I was in Sanawar, I was good at anything to do with the stage, be it debating or drama or athletics, but sucked in my studies. So I joined this hardcore acting course in Knox. My fees there were $26,000 a year, out of which I got $20,000 in scholarships. My dad made a deal with me that he would sponsor the balance 6000$, if I did a double major there. So I double majored in economics and theatre, but with crap grades. It was a tough acting programme and, by the fourth year, I was not enjoying it and wanted to do something more organic and free. I had been watching stand-up for years, as my dad had a Bill Cosby album that I used to watch. So I landed up writing a 60-minute show, as my thesis performance called ‘Brown men can’t hump’, as a rebellion towards acting and the drama faculty. It went well and I graduated a year post 9/11 in the shittiest job market. I did four jobs — security guard, building painter, dish washer and banquet bartender in Chicago, trying to get acting jobs and starting doing the amateur circuit in stand-up comedy there. I started getting assignments and came back to India to do a show for the Times of India at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi in 2003. That one show changed it all. For many years, I hosted the Times Food Guide awards and was a VJ at Zoom when it was launched. I then hosted a show at night, targeted at the corporate world on a business channel. I became a corporate comedian and started earning decent money. I then quit my job in 2007 and wrote and performed a stand-up comedy called ‘Walking on Broken Das.’ I made a DVD titled ‘Viagra’ with my performance and decided to distribute six copies to different video libraries with the hope to get exposed to people. Can you imagine two of those DVD’s landed up at the desk of Aditya Chopra and Aamir Khan productions due to two assistant directors who had rented it out. I was called in for the two auditions. Within six weeks, both Badmaash Company and Delhi Belly happened.
Are you in love?
I have a live-in girlfriend Shivani for the past three years. She too is an event manager and she too travels as much as I do. We are very happy together and we live with our British bulldog called Doctor Watson. this is an interesting time for the both of us in our respective careers. We will be married within a year or a year-and-a-half.
Who are you most attached to in your life?
Shivani. She is my reality. She is the one person who will tell me if my joke sucks, though, of course, she proudly finds me hilarious. I am very conscious when I see myself on screen. But her eyes will light up even more than mine when she sees a good performance of mine. She is fiercely intelligent and loyal and one of those people who can make me laugh.
Who else can make you laugh?
Kunaal Roy Kapoor can make me laugh. Politics makes me laugh. I am a news junkie. People watch a movie with their dinner. I watch The Newshour. I think coming from the industry where you know you are funny, it’s hugely entertaining to watch a group of people who are unaware of how funny they are. The panel of The Newshour is extremely entertaining. It’s my favourite show on television. Because a) it’s funny and everybody on the panel knows its funny and b) it’s an uncensored, flustered version of people, which is the best version of people where they are slightly uncomfortable, but they have to say what is on their mind.
How was it playing Farhan Akhtar’s friend in Shaadi Ke Side Effects?
The director Saket Chaudhary came to me and said, ‘We want you in the film.’ We struck a deal where I said, ‘I will write it and create the character with you. It will be extremely stupid. The deal is you have to credit it as the ‘senseless appearance by Vir Das’.’ So that is my credit in the opening sequence and is pretty much the most stupid thing I have ever done on cinema. I went to work and made up things everyday on the spot. I am the most irritating thing in Farhan’s life in the film. So I am not his friend at all. In fact I am anything but his friend.
Who do you credit for your being in films?
Aamir Khan. There were a lot of people considered for the role in Delhi Belly, but I know that he fought for me. And that film changed everything for me. He is something to aspire towards, where there is a tremendous amount of work with a tremendous amount of success dealt with a lot of poise and planning. That appeals to me as well. In this phase of my life, where I am shooting six days a week and do three gigs a week and I have to write a new song and produce and tour, I kind of wish I had his poise where he has figured out the balance of it all. I am a restless person and I am right now in a position where there is a lot of opportunity, more opportunity than I have ever had, so I am trying to figure out what to take and what not to take.
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Hiren Kotwani (BOMBAY TIMES; February 12, 2014)
A number of factors make Holiday — A Soldier Is Never Off Duty exciting. It’s a collaboration between Akshay Kumar and Vipul A Shah, who have given hits like Aankhen, Waqt — The Race Against Time, Namastey London and Singh Is Kinng. Then, it’s helmed by A R Murugadoss, who pioneered the 100-crore club with his first Hindi film, Ghajini. Now, the trade is curious to see his second outing. Not to forget the pairing of Akshay and Sonakshi, who have given a success like Rowdy Rathore.
All eyes are on Holiday… because it has an engaging story revolving around an army captain — played by Akshay — some high-end action, romance and a good soundtrack by Pritam.
Vipul, who is the producer of the film, says, “In every person’s life, some special films happen. I’m lucky that I got so many special films with Akshay in the last 10 years. There are huge expectations from the team. We’re looking forward to it ourselves.” For now, they are awaiting the reactions to the trailer, which goes online today at 2.30 pm.
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Mehul S Thakkar (MUMBAI MIRROR; February 12, 2014)
By walking out of Shuddhi, Hrithik Roshan has sparked off speculations that not only is he not at his prime physically, but has also hit an emotional low following his separation from wife Sussanne. But that’s far from the truth.
According to a source close to the Bang Bang unit, which has just wrapped up a shoot in Shimla, when Hrithik joined them last week, he was extremely focussed and energetic. “There are no signs of fatigue, he is untiring on the sets, and after the delay brought on by his accident on the sets and subsequent surgery, he is determined to keep the film’s October 2 date with the theatres. That’s the reason he has decided not to get distracted by other film, not even listen to any scripts, till he has wrapped up Bang Bang,” said source.
The source revealed that when in Shimla, the actor used to hit the gym every morning with his trainer who is travelling with him. “After the shoot, he returned to the gym again for an hour. He didn’t skip his workout even once. He’s even flown down his cook from Mumbai so he can maintain a customised diet,” added the source.
By fenil_seta on
Hellooooo everyone !! Today I am here to talk about my lips !! Yes ! There ! I said it .. My lips ! As a person I find it difficult to talk about my personal life and hence have always maintained a low profile choosing to interact with you all on twitter with my random -mostly illogical thoughts seeming like the only thing I feel ok about ..that’s just who I am .. But in today’s time where PR stories and feeding people with information constantly or making appearances is a fad somewhere people like me get lost in translation or in this case translations!
Lately there has been a LOT of talk about me in this particular episode of KOffee with Karan. Mainly regarding my lips . I am here to just convey what I have to say regarding the same . I am talking about it only because this story has taken a scary direction and things have been ‘blown out of proportion’ ( pun intended ) …
For a short while now I have been using a temporary lip enhancing tool and that along with make up techniques ( I have learnt over the years) is the reason why there might be a change in the appearance of my lips. Having stated this fact let me very vehemently assure everyone that I have by no means gone ‘under the knife ‘ or done any kind of ‘plastic surgery’ or undergone any intrusive procedure . This was my decision and was done for the sake of my look in my upcoming film Bombay velvet, a period drama where I play a jazz singer in the 1960′s – 70′s . And it was taken from the referencing of that time.
The drastic change in my appearance on KWK is due to lot of factors put together and not just my lips . Everyone goes through good and bad days. Did I think I looked good on the KWK episode ? NO . I do feel I could have done things differently.
By fenil_seta on
Mehul S Thakkar (MUMBAI MIRROR; February 11, 2014)
Zoya Akhtar’s next film, starring, Farhan Akhtar, Ranveer Singh, Anushka Shrama and Priyanka Chopra, has been kept strictly under wraps because the filmmaker likes to do her work quietly and let her films do the talking. But Mirror has learnt that the director has made trips to South Africa and Italy to check out and explore different kinds of cruises.
According to a source, “The first schedule will be shot abroad a cruise liner with the lead star cast. The dates of the actors are being worked out and most likely the shoot will be in May-June. Major portions of the film will be shot on the ship and it is an important part of the film.”
Ritesh Sidhwani, the head honcho of Excel Entertainment, has made a trip to Brazil to check out options as well. According to the source “Ritesh spent the last week in Brazil, they won’t settle for something that doesn’t match up to the magnitude of the project.” When contacted, Sidhwani confirmed the story and said, “Yes, we will be filming on a cruise liner but have not locked the ship or even the country. We will take the decision next week.”
By fenil_seta on
Mehul S Thakkar (MUMBAI MIRROR; February 11, 2014)
At a recent award function, producer Vipul Shah jokingly said on stage that couldn’t unveil the trailer of his upcoming Akshay Kumar starrer, Holiday, as the music is not ready. Now this was far from truth as Pritam Chakraborty had already delivered the songs to Vipul. This wisecrack resulted in fans riling against the composer on a social networking site for his late latif ways.
According to a source, when Pritam woke up to these comments, he took a screenshot and texted it to Vipul. The producer admitted to Mirror that Pritam was upset because it was being misconstrued as him unprofessionalism. “I explained to him that it was just a joke but he groused that people didn’t understand such jokes and I should have been more careful,” says Vipul.
Vipul said that the controversy was unnecessary and blown out of proportion. “I shouldn’t have said what I did. I have already clarified with Pritam over the phone. He is not upset with me and there is no bad blood between us.”
By film_maker on
On 18 January, the last Maruti 800 rolled off the production line at the factory owned by Maruti Suzuki India Ltd in Gurgaon. It was a poignant, yet significant moment for the brand, which had clocked a little over 30 years—most of it as the top selling car in the country.
Yes, it is indeed a moment for nostalgia. Yet, if you do stand back and look, it is much more. The original aam aadmi product didn’t just change the way we drive, but in its history, which actually predates 1983 (the year when the first Maruti 800 rolled out of the factory), lies buried a fascinating story of India’s economic reforms.
Contrary to popular perception, the country’s economic reforms were not launched in 1991. This is the typically lazy, revisionist interpretation that by the sheer number of times it has been uttered has now come to become an accepted fact. I have said this earlier, but no harm in reiterating it: Such an interpretation denies history, which is a continuous process and not the linking of some convenient discrete dots in time.
And the story of the Maruti 800—a name derived from Hindu mythology, the son of the wind god—captures this best. Any idea takes birth much before it goes into production. In the case of Maruti, it first took flight, as so many other path-breaking economic policy ideas did, in 1959 in association with L.K. Jha—one of the first proponents of liberalization, who till the very end believed that while there would be initial pain, in the long-term reforms, would benefit the country immensely.
I stumbled upon the history of the small car in Vinod Mehta’s book: The Sanjay Story, a book that I chanced upon only last year—the publishers had ordered a reprint of the book written by Mehta in the 1970s. (The book itself is a terrific piece of research of a tumultuous period of Indian history and in an era that came three decades before the invention of the seemingly magical Google search engine.)
In the riveting narrative on the chapter on Maruti, Mehta argues that the idea was first mooted by Manubhai Shah, a Union minister in Nehru’s cabinet in the 1950s. The concept of a small car was formally accorded policy space when a committee was set up under Jha in 1959; it endorsed the idea of a cheap car.
Something that I discovered mentioned in a speech delivered by K.C. Mahindra to the shareholders of Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd on 18 May 1959. “I welcome this move as two years ago I advocated exploration and research toward building a people’s car. I hope that the dreams will soon materialize and that the Committee would arrive at the conclusion that something should be done and done quickly to produce in the country what a person of small means can afford. You want a vehicle which will go and reasonably go anywhere, a vehicle which will suit the conditions of locomotion and roads available, a vehicle which is simple to operate and easy to service. Cost factor is of course most important for the people’s car as for other vehicles and costs can be brought down only by volume production. There is no other way.”
As it always is with such out-of-the-box ideas, the nays and ayes had it out with each other; with the latter making progress, incrementally though, after every encounter. Eventually it was decided in July 1968 that the car would be produced in the private sector.
Sanjay Gandhi, the son of then prime minister Indira Gandhi, and Madan Mohan Rao managed to obtain a letter of intent each for the purpose of manufacture of 50,000 small cars. Rao soon fell off the map, even while Sanjay Gandhi went on to float Maruti Ltd as a public limited company and came to acquire the land in Gurgaon. However, the idea never went anywhere under Sanjay Gandhi, who died in a plane crash and was not at the helm when Indira Gandhi was returned to power and revived the small car project as a public-private partnership with Suzuki.
If the birth of the idea, first conceived less than a decade after India gained Independence, was so dramatic, then its subsequent growth was even more. Not only did it spawn an automobile revolution, but it overnight created production systems, both within its own factory and among the ancillary units, that had never been seen in this country.
Coincidentally, the life span of Maruti 800 also roughly coincides with the period of India’s tryst with serious economic reforms—which formally kicked off when Indira Gandhi signed on to a structural adjustment loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1981. For the record, 1991 was a benchmark year when this process of reforms was accelerated after India had to fall back upon yet another bailout loan from the IMF. The rest, as they say, is history.
In the final analysis, it is clear that the narrative of The small car with a big heart (as Mint poignantly headlined the story on Friday) is of far more significance to the recent economic history of this country than anything else. To foreign investors it is an assurance that India believes in continuity with change. For its citizens it is a reiteration of the self-belief that solutions unique to its circumstances are eminently doable and can pack a successful business model.
Anil Padmanabhan is deputy managing editor of Mint and writes every week on the intersection of politics and economics. Comments are welcome at email@example.com
By fenil_seta on
By fenil_seta on
DNA (February 7, 2014)
Anurag Kashyap makes his debut on Koffee With Karan this week. Known to be honest to a fault, the director shocks and surprises host Karan Johar with candid answers! We are delighted with his responses. The film industry and it’s people might not take it in the right spirit. But then Kashyup has never cared about that. Read on…
K: A film you saw recently that you thought was over-rated?
A: Shuddh Desi Romance.
K: Complete the sentence. Ram Gopal Varma is…
A: Ram Gopal Varma was… not is.
By fenil_seta on
Mehul S Thakkar (MID-DAY; February 7, 2014)
Recently on Karan Johar’s TV talk show, Koffee With Karan Seaon 4, Anushka Sharma admitted that Virat Kohli is her favourite cricketer. But when Anurag Kashyap good-naturedly ribbed her asking Karan, “Don’t you think Virat and she look good together”, she blushed and protested, “I’m feeling naked right now.”
The actress who has vehemently denied being in a relationship with the cricketer, recently flew down to New Zealand to spend some quality time with her ‘good friend’, before leaving for Sri Lanka to film Anurag Kashyap’s Bombay Velvet mid-February.
After the fifth one-day international in Wellington which India lost, surrendering the ODI series to New Zealand, the squad left for Whangarei for a practice match. Skipper MS Dhoni and Virat reportedly gave this match a miss and went to Auckland instead where the first of the Test matches began yesterday. Anushka joined them there and the couple spent a few quiet days together, strolling hand-in-hand through the picturesque streets where they were clicked and their love story blown open.
By fenil_seta on
Hiren Kotwani (BOMBAY TIMES; February 7, 2014)
For his upcoming action thriller, Hrithik Roshan will have two body doubles help him pull off his stunts designed and choreographed by Andy Armstrong (The Amazing Spider-Man 2). One of them, Mansoor, regularly doubles up for the superstar. The other is a stunts specialist from Los Angeles. Roshan, who underwent brain surgery last July, is currently filming an extensive and dangerous rooftop chase sequence in a heavily populated area of Shimla.
Says a source, “Unlike rooftops in cities like Delhi, those in Shimla are sloped with the steep valley on one side. While Hrithik will do all the close-up scenes, the body doubles will be used for wide angle and long shots.”
When we spoke to our source on Thursday afternoon, the superstar was readying for his shot on the tin roof, about 40 feet off the ground, even though it had started snowing. The team is scheduled to wrap the rooftop chase this weekend and then head to Delhi for 12 days, to film a car-chase sequence.
By fenil_seta on
Asira Tarannum (MID-DAY; February 7, 2014)
If sources are to be believed, Salman Khan – who has decided to stay away from remakes of South films — is now keen to work with original scripts penned by writers from the South film industry. Sources say that around two weeks ago, the actor met with film writer K V Vijayendra Prasad. “Prasad narrated a fresh script to him and Salman has given a nod to him for the same,” says the source.
It may be pointed out here that KV Vijayendra Prasad is the father of director SS Rajamouli. Having been a part of the South film industry since 1988, he has scripted around fifteen Telugu films.
Interestingly, Salman’s recently released movie, Jai Ho, was a remake of the South film Stalin. “Salman now wants to work with writers from the South film industry and meeting Vijayendra Prasad is just the right start,” adds the source.
By fenil_seta on
Upala KBR (DNA; February 7, 2014)
2014 has begun on a good note for Sonam Kapoor. It began with Raees with Shah Rukh Khan. And now she has been confirmed for Sooraj Barjatya’s film Bade Bhaiiya with Salman Khan. This, along with last year’s critical acclaim for Raanjhaana and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag has raised the actresses’ stock overnight.
Sooraj has been on the lookout for a traditional Indian face to cast opposite Salman. But he was clear he didn’t want a fresh face. The story is about two brothers, and Salman plays both. Sooraj had almost finalised Deepika for the part but ultimately has selected Sonam. He felt that the Kapoor girl was more suited to the role, and had more desi appeal, in her personal as well as professional life. The director is looking for innocence and he feels that Sonam has typical Indian features. He also believes that she’s one of those actresses who can portray any character with her mobile face. When Sooraj saw Raanjhaana he was fascinated by her performance and decided she was perfect for the role. Salman approves of this choice as as he has known Sonam since childhood, as her father Anil Kapoor is a friend.
But Sonam and her family have been instructed to maintain strict silence on the film by Sooraj. A source says, “There will be a proper announcement at the right time. Till then Sonam can’t talk about it all. Even her family is keeping mum on this restigious project.”
By fenil_seta on
WILL HASEE TOH PHASEE BRING MUCH-NEEDED CHEER?
The year 2014 hasn’t commenced on a great note. Jai Ho, expected to be the first blockbuster, struggled to reach the 100-crore mark. Dedh Ishqiya flopped while Yaariyan was declared average at the box office. However, February might bring the much-needed cheer. There’s a promising film releasing every week and each of this film is expected to fare well at the box office. In fact, the situation reminds me of the ‘July 2011’ phenomenon. July 2011 was when four super hit films released in 4 consecutive weeks – Delhi Belly, Murder 2, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Singham. I strongly feel this rarest of rare phenomenon can repeat this month with Hasee Toh Phasee (releasing tomorrow), Gunday (14th Feb), Highway (21st Feb) and Shaadi Ke Side Effects (28th Feb), although many don’t agree with me. Gunday can be the biggest grosser of the month as its subject and promos suggest that it can work in multiplexes as well as single screens. Highway might be a bit abstract and not universal but it’s made in reasonable costs. Shaadi Ke Side Effects doesn’t have a good music score but its trailers are absolutely funny. That it is from the team and genre of Pyaar Ke Side Effects is also a plus point.
And lastly, Hasee Toh Phasee too has chances due to multiple reasons. Firstly, the trailers are wacky and funny and it seems to be a quirky entertainer. Secondly, it stars Parineeti Chopra, an actress whose presence adds a lot of weightage to any film. Thirdly, it is produced by two diametrically opposite producers – Karan Johar and Anurag Kashyap. And lastly, it comes at an opportune time. It has absolutely no competition (Heartless, Ya Rab and Babloo Happy Hai obviously won’t make a dent in its collections) while the other Hindi films in the fray like Jai Ho and One By Two are done with their principle run in theatres. Viewers are ready, or rather hungry to see a well-made film and would definitely love to Hasee Toh Phasee. But like any other good film, it has to get a good response from audiences.